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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Connecting Parents Through Volunteering

Sending your child off to college can be tough, especially when their new school is hundreds of miles away. But out-of-state parents Monique Colter and Dodie Swift are overcoming that distance and are as engaged and connected as ever.

As their students became Flyers, Colter and Swift were curious about what opportunities existed for parents to get involved. Through the Parent Leadership Council, they found the perfect way to get connected at UD. 

The PLC is an active network of parents and family members who work closely with President Eric F. Spina to advocate for students and increase awareness of UD resources through leadership, philanthropy and volunteerism. Members are encouraged to contribute to the PLC by leveraging their personal skills and strengths. For Colter and Swift, this meant participation in a panel event that allowed them to share professional insights and expertise.  

During Family Weekend this fall, the PLC and Career Services co-hosted a panel called Work Experience During College: An Employer Perspective. Colter, who works as the Assistant Inspector General for Audit at AmeriCorps, and Swift, who works as Director of Client Services, Health at Spotify, sat alongside Joshua Biris ’19 from GE Aerospace and Jason Jones from Premier Health. The panel discussion educated students and their families on gaining work experience during college, the employment process, the availability of co-ops and internship experiences, as well as offering resume and interviewing tips, and general career advice.

In addition to on-campus events like these, PLC members provide feedback and engage in discussion on University priorities, attend and host UD events in their local communities, facilitate communication among parents in their networks, and encourage others to participate in One Day, One Dayton (UD’s annual giving day).

For Colter, who lives in Virginia, joining the PLC was a way to foster a deeper connection with the University. She wanted a better understanding of the resources available on campus after her son was recruited by the football program.

“I didn’t know anything about the University of Dayton,” shared Colter. “I thought the PLC would be a great opportunity to learn what resources are offered at Dayton.” 

Swift, who lives in Illinois, felt called to become more engaged in the Flyer family after her son’s first year.

“My husband and I wanted to get more involved after our son’s first year at Dayton because it was just such a positive experience for him,” said Swift. “Knowing that it would also be a gateway to having some service opportunities, particularly in the career guidance space, was also appealing to me.”

Now, two years later, both Colter and Swift have found a supportive network where they can serve others using their unique talents and strengths, keep apprised of campus resources, ask and answer questions, and most importantly, stay connected and involved with their Flyers.

“I would recommend parents to join,” said Colter. “It gives a good opportunity to connect. Especially when you live far away — we live eight hours away — it helps us to get a better feel for where Mitchell is and understand the resources. It helps us to guide him as he gets through his matriculation here.”

About 2,400 alumni, parents and friends serve in volunteer roles for UD. Through UD’s We Soar campaign — the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in over 20 years — the University is looking to grow that number to at least 2,800. Participating in the PLC is just one way parents can get involved in building a culture that will sustain UD’s bright future.

“Definitely take any opportunity to get involved, because you can shape it in any way that works for you and your schedule,” shared Swift. “It's another point of connection to the University, and I really appreciate that.”

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